Having lensed the Rolling Stones (Shine A Light), Bob Dylan (No Direction Home) and The Band (The Last Waltz), Martin Scorsese turns his docu-eye on the life and career of another iconic music-maker, George Harrison. Made for HBO and split into two feature-length parts, Material World revisits George’s post-war Liverpool childhood, The Beatles years and his later achievements as a solo artist, film producer and philanthropist, before his death from cancer aged 58.
Scorsese cracks open a treasure chest of archive materials, including unseen home movies, black-and-white photographs, personal letters and diary extracts read by the star’s son Dhani. All of which furnish the story with a remarkable glow of warmth and intimacy. Among the candid talking heads are Harrison’s two wives Patti Boyd and Olivia Harrison, plus the likes of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Terry Gilliam and Yoko Ono.
There is a shortage of dissenting voices, but Marty’s beautifully assembled tribute makes a persuasive case for Harrison’s enduring significance – not only as Fab Four guitarist but as the writer of sublime songs like While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Something, Here Comes The Sun and My Sweet Lord. Scorsese also gives weight to Harrison’s spiritual explorations: this was a man who, at the height of fame, embraced the Indian philosophy of transcendental meditation. Relish this poignant memorial to an intenseyet- generous individual, for whom the mantra “all things must pass” proved profoundly inspirational.